The Prospect Park West bike lane has seen its fair share of use, , , , and , and now it’s getting some accessories: Fourteen .
The Department of Transportation has begun installing the concrete islands at various intersections along Prospect Park West in the floating parking lane on the west side of the bike lane. The islands are surrounded by granite curbs to match the rest of the historically landmarked street, will have trees and pedestrian crossing signals on them.
The raised pedestrian islands are meant to enhance pedestrian safety — all while maintaining the current roadway configuration — by giving them a space of their own to improve pedestrian crossing and give them better sight lines of car and bicycle traffic over the parked cars.
They will be located at the intersections of Carroll Street, Garfield Place, First, Third, Fifth, Seventh, Ninth, Eleventh and Fourteenth streets.
But, although many people enjoy the bike lane, there are others who think the strip of green paint has created and that the pedestrian islands only solidify its presence.
Arthur, a Prospect Park West resident who did not want to give his last name, said that he supports , a group that tried to get the . Arthur is also not happy to see the pedestrian islands being installed.
To him, the pedestrian islands legitimize something that should have been removed a long time ago.
“The Prospect Park West bike lane was installed in a sneaky way, it was not a transparent process,” Arthur said. “The city did not announce that they were installing a bike lane to the residents of Prospect Park West.”
He also claimed that the community board told Prospect Park West residents “too late,” not giving people enough time to oppose it, and that they were told the bike lane was “temporary.”
Arthur said that he wants the bike lane to be removed, but now with the pedestrian islands, he said, that job is going to be much harder.
“The city has the right to do whatever they want,” Arthur said, explaining that they should not have installed the strip of green paint but they did any way. “But, I don’t think they knew what they’re getting into with the bike lane.”
As a pedestrian, Arthur said, crossing the bike lane is dangerous because he thinks the cyclists are reckless drivers.
“We are the ones who suffer from it, but the bikers are so happy and won’t stop with this bike lane,” he said, explaining that he doesn’t understand why cyclists need a bike lane in the park and on his street. “They aren’t happy with just one, they want to install more.”
Arthur’s tone turned a little darker as he talked about the risk of accidents.
“Bikers are going to get theirs,” he said, explaining that more cyclists are riding because of the nice weather and that increases the risk of them getting hit. “One of them is going to get killed by a driver.”
Craig Hammerman, the district manager of Community Board 6, has a different view of the bike lane and the pedestrian islands.
“The pedestrian islands will go a far way toward improving the aesthetic at Prospect Park West and the safety of the people who are crossing by giving them a safe refuge that should be free from illegal vehicular incursions,” Hammerman said. “The goal has always been to take the concept and improve on it further and I think the islands will help accomplish that.”
He also said that CB6 is open to other suggestions in how to improve safety and quality of life along Prospect Park West.
“We are continuously looking for ways to improve our public spaces, to make them more livable for everyone,” Hammerman said. “If anyone has any further ideas, this is an ongoing process without beginning or end.”
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